Trash Film Guru Vs. The Summer Blockbusters : “War For The Planet Of The Apes”

Trash Film Guru

So, this is it — the end of the quietest, most underappreciated trilogy to come out of the Hollywood blockbuster machine in who-knows-how-long has arrived, and to make a long story short : it doesn’t disappoint. Not in the least. In fact, it exceeds even the loftiest of expectations.

So that’s me giving away the plot a bit early, I guess, but hey, if you’re still reading this, chances are you were every bit as fond of this series as I was, and for long-time fans of the franchise, not only did it rinse the taste of Tim Burton’s doomed-from-jump relaunch from our collective palette once and for all, it went considerably further by re-imagining the premise in a bold and entirely believable new way, delivering compelling performances, and making better use of CGI than — shit, anything ever, I don’t hesitate to say. It really has been “all that,”…

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A Movie A Day #202: Broken Bars (1995, directed by Tom Neuwirth)

The streets are being flooded with lousy, synthetic heroin.  Could the source be somewhere inside of Trabuco Federal Prison?  That is what Nick Slater (Ben Maccabee) has been assigned to find out.  Nick is a tough cop but now he is going undercover, pretending to be a tough but incarcerated bank robber.  Nick  discovers that Trabuco is like no other prison out there.  For one thing, Wings Hauser is the warden.  Warden Pitt is a smirking Aryan who forces his prisoners to box for his amusement and who enforces discipline with a CIA-style torture chamber.  (Because the Warden is a boxing fanatic who likes to reward his best fighters, he also regularly brings prostitutes into the prison, which allows the film to reach its quota of B-movie nudity.)  Even worse, Warden Pitt and the head of the Aryan Brotherhood, Jigsaw (Paulo Tocha) are working together.  Only Nick can end Warden Pitt’s reign of terror but he will have to survive prison first.  Fortunately, Ben knows how to throw a punch and deliver kick and he is going to have to do a lot of both if he is going to make it out alive.

Broken Bars is a dumb but entertaining movie, with plenty of action and Wings Hauser villainy.  Ben Maccabee’s a credible 90s style action hero.  He may not be as good an actor as Dolph Lundgren or as fast as Jean-Claude Van Damme but, by the end of Broken Bars, there is no doubt that he could easily knock out Steven Seagal.  It’s no surprise that the best thing about the movie is Wings Hauser.  As anyone who ever watched late night Cinemax in the 90s knows, Wings Hauser was usually the best thing about any movie that he appeared in.  As a character, Warden Pitt is demented even by the standards of Wings Hauser and Hauser obviously had a ball screaming his lines.  B-movie stalwart Joe Estevez also shows up, playing a good guy for once.

Joe Estevez and Wings Hauser in the same movie?  Who cares if it’s any good?  Hauser and Estevez together is just another way of saying, “Must see.”

Rockin’ in the Film World #11: HAVING A WILD WEEKEND (Warner Brothers 1965)

cracked rear viewer

For those of you who weren’t around during the heyday of the 60’s British Invasion, The Dave Clark Five were second only to The Beatles in popularity. The group came hot on the heels of The Fab Four, appearing on Ed Sullivan for two straight weeks, and had a solid string of hits from 1964 to 1967: “Glad All Over”, “Bits & Pieces”, “Because”, “Any Way You Want It”, “Over & Over”. Yes, they were BIG, folks!  Propelled by Clark’s up-front drumming and lead singer Mike Smith’s growling vocals, The Dave Clark Five had the teenyboppers screaming in the aisles, and since A HARD DAY’S NIGHT was a smashing success, a movie starring the boys was the next logical step.

Director John Boorman

HAVING A WILD WEEKEND begins like it’s going to be a clone of that film, then turns into something completely different thanks to first-time director John Boorman, who would later give…

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Late Night Cable Movie Review: The Love Machine (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

It’s been awhile since I wrote a review of a feature film. Let’s see if I can still get through one of these. How hard can it be? It’s a Dean McKendrick movie.

If you’re gonna watch this, then I hope you have seen McKendrick’s The Deadly Pickup (2016) and Model For Murder (2016) since this is basically a third film in what could be an unofficial trilogy.

The movie begins, and we see what looks like an amplifier with two voltage gauges, a pressure gauge stuck on top, and something that shoots a beam out of it, which I’m sure comes from another one of McKendrick’s films.

Much like this set, which is where Sarah Hunter’s character from Model For Murder was killed.

Model For Murder (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

Model For Murder (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

In this film, Carter Cruise is playing Bair. She is in a session with psychologist, Dr. Stephanie Bradshaw (Jennifer Korbin). Bradshaw asks her what she does when she sees an attractive man. She wants to know what her first thoughts are. Those first thoughts are of stock footage from The Deadly Pickup.

The opening kill.

And Rick!

You remember Rick, right? He’s the guy who got pricked with her poisonousness ring, yet still managed to stumble from the car where they had sex…

The Deadly Pickup (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

The Deadly Pickup (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

so that he could die somewhere else.

The Deadly Pickup (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

The Deadly Pickup (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

Then he came back in Model For Murder as a photographer.

Model For Murder (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

Model For Murder (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

There’s also a flashback to Charlie who had to be rescued from Cruise by Deputy Randall.

The Deadly Pickup (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

Don’t worry, Deputy Randall, who was promoted to detective in Model For Murder, makes a return in this film. Like Cruise, he is playing a different character. However, unlike Cruise, he is played by Billy Snow via the pseudonym of Alan Long. Makes sense to use the name of an actor from 1975’s Pick-up.

After the reused footage, the doctor turns up the dial on the machine, then asks her again what she wants to do with the attractive man.

Perfect! I can’t say the same about these opening credits though. This dance number with Erika Jordan goes on just short of forever.

It only exists so she can give a lap dance to one of our main characters, Don (Justin Berti), in order to introduce us to him.

It also gives me an excuse to wonder what led her from working as a detective to dancing at this club.

Model For Murder (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

Also, Don has gone from managing models to sadly having to visit this strip club.

The Deadly Pickup (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

The Deadly Pickup (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

After a shot of a street somewhere, we cut to the bedroom where Erika Jordan and Billy Snow had sex in Model For Murder.

Model For Murder (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

This is where we meet Don’s wife, Jane (Alice Haig). They are having trouble with their marriage. He wants to try couples therapy, but she is reluctant, so he leaves to sleep on the couch, which judging by the paint on the walls, is probably in the same building as the room from earlier.

Meanwhile, at the $20 Oil Change…

Don strikes up a conversation with his friend John (Michael Hopkins) concerning his marriage problems.

I know I said something similar when I talked about Model For Murder, but welcome back to the world of the living, Josh. You might remember Michael Hopkins as Carter Cruise’s first victim in The Deadly Pickup. Or you don’t, because you have a life, haven’t seen all three movies, and certainly haven’t paid this much attention to them.

We also get the return of Sheriff Bates…

The Deadly Pickup (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

The Deadly Pickup (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

except this time Michael Gaglio owns this $20 Oil Change.

And I got this humorous shot of Justin Berti.

It doesn’t have to do with anything. I just thought I’d share it with you.

John suggests a therapist that worked for him and his wife, Angie.

Then we get what looks like a new set.

Sure, it appears to have been decorated by the same people who did the police station in The Deadly Pickup, but I couldn’t find it anywhere else.

The Deadly Pickup (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

The Deadly Pickup (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

Inside, the doctor gets the story from Don and Jane about their troubles while they sit on the couch that Rick had sex on in Model For Murder.

Model For Murder (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

Of course she’s an ideal candidate to be zapped by that machine. The questions ultimately lead the doctor to asking Jane about her sexual fantasies. This time we don’t get stock footage. It’s just another reused set. She dreams of sunbathing on the set of the sexual encounter with a murder victim her husband told police about in Model For Murder.

Model For Murder (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

And of course there’s a pool boy (Robbie Caroll). You may remember him as the police officer who arrested Katie Morgan at the beginning of Vixens From Venus (2016).

Vixens From Venus (2016, dir. Sal V. Miers)

Much like Jordan, his career seems to be on the downswing. He was once a police officer, and now he’s been reduced to being a pool boy.

This is the first sex scene of the movie. I would love to have heard the conversation on the other end of this that Jane was having with the doctor.

While this scene happens, we are treated to a few minutes of a soundalike of Take Five by The Dave Brubeck Quartet.

The session went well, and a follow-up appointment is set.

Now we get to find out what the outcome of these treatments is when we get to meet John’s wife, Angie (Pepper XO).

A call comes in from the therapist who tells Angie that “it’s time.” That means it’s time to have sex on Brian and Traci’s bed from The Deadly Pickup.

The Deadly Pickup (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

The Deadly Pickup (2016, dir. Dean McKendrick)

It also means that it’s time for John to die from a corkscrew to the chest.

The next morning, Jane tells Don that she thinks the treatments are going well, and Don goes off to work to have the bad news broken to him about his friend being killed. But before Don receives the bad news, we get to see that the $20 Oil Change has an SBC payphone in 2016.

Gaglio breaks the news to Don, which leads the film to immediately cut to two people having sex on a leopard-print bed. I have no idea who they are.

She gets a call from the doctor, and he’s dead.

Now Jane meets Jeff (Billy Snow). If he looks worried here…

it’s because of who his wife is.

Jane goes in for another treatment. While she is under the control of the machine, the doctor forces herself upon Jane. No joke. They really could have left this scene out–no matter how short it is.

Don now breaks the news to Jane about John’s death so that we know the two of them have a reason to start being suspicious of the doctor. That’s not important though, because the scene that I was waiting for, finally happens.

Breezy finally gets her revenge on Deputy Randall. Does the rest of the film really matter now?

Okay, fine. Jane is lying in bed when she has a dream of Christine Nguyen doing a shower scene. I’m not kidding. They randomly inserted a shower scene by having Jane dream about one out of the blue for no apparent reason.

With the death of Billy Snow, Don is convinced things are fishy with the doctor, and he tries to talk Jane out of seeing her. It doesn’t work.

Then they have another shower scene. I have to give them some credit. They do end it with pertinent information to the plot. Jane remembers the doctor’s “Kill him” line.

Don does some intense research online about the doctor.

Long story short, something bad happened to her, so she’s taking revenge on other people.

Don now races to save his wife from this monster. Unfortunately, Don’s an idiot, and Jane zaps him with the machine, leading to a sex scene. However, since we are at the end of the film, when Jane pulls a gun to shoot him, he takes it away from her.

The doctor comes in, and I kind of love Don because he doesn’t hesitate for second. She pulls a knife, and he shoots her.

A quick shot at the machine, and Jane is free from its power. A couple lines of dialog are exchanged, then the movie abruptly ends.

So, that’s The Love Machine.

For the people watching for entertainment value, it doesn’t have much to offer other than getting to see Carter Cruise do in Billy Snow.

For people watching for the sex, it doesn’t have much either. There are a couple of sex scenes, and two shower scenes shoehorned into the movie. The one scene of girl-on-girl is kind of disturbing seeing as the doctor does sexually assault her. Then the movie adds confusion since that encounter is what appears to trigger her to have a dream about a woman taking a shower. Yet, it’s never followed up on.

I almost would have preferred the doctor to win in the end by taking Jane away with her. Sure, it would have been dark, but it would have been something memorable about this movie.

I can’t recommend this one.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Dancing Mothers, It, Wings, The Wild Party

Happy birthday, Clara Bow!

4 Shots From 4 Films

Dancing Mothers (1926, dir by Herbert Brenon)

It (1927, directed by Clarence Badger)

Wings (1927, dir by William Wellman)

The Wild Party (1929, dir by Dorothy Arzner)

Music Video of the Day: Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order (1986, dir. Robert Longo)

From the book, I Want My MTV:

Michael Stipe: Robert Longo was one of the premier painters coming out of New York. We wanted to upset the visual language of videos, and that’s what we got with “The One I Love.” He was referencing Renaissance paintings, rather than Madonna. I saw the video he did for New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle”–he interrupts it about two-thirds of the way through with a scene out of a movie, where a woman stands up at a table and says, “I refuse to believe in reincarnation, because I will not come back as a bug or an insect,” a guy goes, “Well you’re a real up person,” and then it slam-cuts back into the song. I don’t think anyone had ever interrupted a song, cut to something, and then cut back to the song.

That’s quite the memory Stipe has. He still misquoted the video, but he was really close. That part actually goes like this:

“I don’t believe in reincarnation because I refuse to come back as a bug or as a rabbit.”

“You know, you’re a real ‘up’ person.”

I can’t find out who the third person in the room is, but the other two are well-known.

The first is Jodi Long. She’s been in a bunch stuff, and is still acting today. She was in Paul Schrader’s Patty Hearst (1988), which Lisa reviewed yesterday. I didn’t pick out this video to go with that review. I didn’t know till I went to write this that there was even a record of who these two people are.

The second is E. Max Frye. He has done numerous things over the years. You probably know him best as co-writing the screenplay for Foxcatcher (2014), which earned him an Oscar nomination.

Stipe says that this part is from a movie. From what I’ve read in other articles, that part was shot for this video. If this was a film, it is still undocumented on IMDb. The only time I can find on IMDb where Long and Frye worked together was on the film, Amos & Andrew (1993). That film was written and directed by Frye.

Nightflight’s profile of New Order videos had this to say about Bizarre Love Triangle:

For the video for “Bizarre Love Triangle,” released in November of 1986, New Order turned to New York-based director and visual artist Robert Longo, who claimed that the music of Joy Division and New Order were very influential on his work.

Longo would end up giving New Order a very experimental film as a promotional video, with fragmented vertiginous fast cuts, infused with color, which were then merged together visually competing ideas.

One of those ideas included men and women in business suits are seen falling through the air, something he’d based on his own set of lithographs called “Men in the Cities.”

Another of the other ideas Longo pursued was the use of visually appealing panels of Longo’s own art, which are then interrupted by a “bizarre love triangle,” a black and white melodrama scene with Asian actress Jodi Long and Oregon-based screenwriter and filmmaker E. Max Frye arguing emphatically about reincarnation.

They also go on to say that the shots of the band were filmed when they performed live “in the hills of Italy.”

Director Robert Longo appears to have made only one feature film. He directed Johnny Mnemonic (1995).

The video was produced by Michael Shamburg. Shamburg produced quite a few videos for New Order. He’s also has producer credits for a lot of well-known movies such as The Big Chill (1983), Reality Bites (1994), Gattaca (1997), Garden State (2004), and Django Unchained (2012).

According to Peter Hook of New Order in the book I Want My MTV:

We met Michael Shamburg when he filmed us playing in New York, and we gave him more or less complete artistic freedom to do our videos. Michael’s a big producer now–he did Pulp Fiction and Garden State–and he introduced us to interesting directors: Robert Longo, Kathryn Bigelow, Philippe Decouflé, Robert Frank, William Wegman, and Jonathan Demme.